Providing support to students following a mass casualty incident

Out on placementEdge Hill University currently runs a 2-year diploma programme for Paramedic Practice evolving into a 3-year BSc (Hons) starting from September 2018. At any one time, the department will have a cohort of students in university studying and another learning through clinical practice placements. These placements are either with NWAS or on a range of multi-professional bespoke placements facilitated across the entirety of the North West region. Throughout their 2 years of study, students are expected to work closely with their paramedic mentors, developing the necessary skills and confidence required to progress into independent (although still supervised) practitioners during their final year.On Monday 22 May, 62 first-year student paramedics had just commenced a week of clinical placements with NWAS. The students, aged 18 years to their mid-50s from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, only joined the university in September 2016. Being in their eighth month of study when the tragedy struck, their experience of paramedic practice was somewhat limited. Working alongside their paramedic mentors, some students were deployed to the incident.As news of the attack began to break across the world, academic staff in the Paramedic Department of Edge Hill University were aware that students may be involved in the immediate response to the arena attack. On the morning of 23 May it was confirmed that eight of the first-year student paramedics had been involved in the immediate response to Manchester Arena. It became clear that a number of other students were also on duty and were indirectly involved in supporting the response by continuing their placements with their mentors and responding to regular calls from the community. It was apparent that all students involved would require support and the following is an account of the actions of Edge Hill University Paramedic Department and the NWAS in the aftermath of the incident in order to support the students.

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